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US: Over 80 lawmakers call on Obama administration to end gay blood donation ban

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  1. note that no doctors or medical scientists signed.

    The ban on gay blood donation, whether we like it or not, is a valuable screening that makes blood products much safer. The majority of gay people do not have blood bourne illnesses, that has never been at issue and nobody is accusing anyone of that. But the incidence is nevertheless high among sexually active gay men. Excluding them plus other easily defined groups with high incidence dramatically increases the safety of blood transfusion but substantially lowering the indicdence of infected blood batches. This is necessary because the diagnostic screen sometimes misses infected batches. So, if there are far fewer infected batches to start with, then the likelihood of one being missed is very very substantially reduced.

    So, why do we not test every single batch for presence of HIV – ie viral or antibody detection? Because both cost so much that it would make the gathering of safe donated blood totally uneconomic.

    1. in the USA at least, every blood donation is tested twice separately. the bags have only a bar code as an identifier of who gave the bllod

      The biggest danger is from people who might give blood and not admit they had unprotected sex with strangers, so the ban is stupid and homophobic.

      BTW per the USA center for disease control,, poor women with multiple partners are virtually identical to gay people in terms of the rate of infection.

      1. Just checked and yes they do now test for antibodies and the virus itself so I stand corrected. The only reason i can see them keeping the gay ban in now is to maximise the undiscarded batches and frankly that is not a good enough reason in my books.

        It would be far better to get people to consider a) whether they know they have a blood born illness or b) whether they have recently put themselves at risk and then encourage them to consider not donating rather than having an explicit ban.

    2. Then ALL men should be on the list – NOT just Gays – All men can have HIV not JUST Gays! There are approx 34 million people World Wide Living with HIV – you trying to tell me All of them are GAY Men??

      1. it is the simple matter of incidence. The overall incidence for the US population is 0.7%. Of that percentage more than half of those with HIV are gay men and the gay community has an incidence rate of around 30% (hard to pinpoint as the exact size of the community is hard to gauge). If you therefore exclude gay men, even if there are one or two who lie or cheat, you are already more than halving the whole populations risk in the bloods gathered from 07% to 0.3%. Now in blood safety terms that is HUGE difference and it can be achieved at zero cost.

  2. and if you narrow it down to poor black women, the HIV rates are astronomical. So, bloods, you pushing the Obama administration to ban poor, black women from donating blood?

    If not, you’re just another bigot spouting fake science.

    BTW, this was a petition specifically targeted at Congress-critters. The list of medical organisations who have called for an end to the ban is rather extensive.

    1. Actually, poor Black women have much lower rates than Gay men. Those with high rates are Sub-Saharan Africans, and the ban extends to them and anyone who’s had sex with them. Liftiing of the ban should extend to all banned groups by the same token.

    2. i think you will find that anyone with a connection through visiting or having sex with someone from Haiti or from sub saharan africa are also excluded.

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